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Book’s Always Better

January 31, 2012

Movie adaptations of books are a fact of life. And thank goodness! Some stories are too amazing to be confined to one medium.

   

In a book/movie situation, I always want to read the book, usually before I see the movie. It’s the nature of a movie to be so much simpler and a book to be so much more complex. If you’re a person who likes complexity, who enjoys background information and just feels the need to know MORE, than the book is always going to be better.

THE PRINCESS BRIDE

The Princess Bride is the only book/movie combo that I can’t decide which version I like more. Each on their own is great, but together they produce double the joy. The book provides such amusing backgrounds for each character, along with a full background of the amazing, albeit made up, author, S. Morgenstern (Bill Goldman wrote the book and screenplay and called it an “abridgment of the epic story  by Morgenstern,” a Florinese author from the depths of Goldman’s own imagination). The movie in no way sullies the book because much of the dialogue is spot on and the actors embody completely their characters. No matter how powerful your imagination, when you read the book, Cary Elwes is Westley and it only makes the book better.

Other book to movie adaptations that matter to me:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – This is my mom’s favorite book, so I’ve heard a lot about how Gregory Peck was the perfect Atticus Finch in the 1962 movie. And it’s absolutely true, not only was the movie true to the main plot and spirit of the book, but Gregory Peck’s Atticus was named AFI’s Greatest Hero in American cinema.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller – My favorite book, but the 1970 movie was less than great. Sure, it was amusing and clever and had great actors like Alan Arkin, Orsen Welles and poor Art Garfunkel who fell in love with a prostitute. However this movie illustrates why  it’s so much better to read the book. The book had such humor and satire and played with time in a way that a movie could never do justice.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling – I could write 1,000 blogs on the Harry Potter books/movies, but I’ll sum it up here: The beginning movies were alright, the fourth one was a bummer, the last two were wonderful!! Of course you can’t put all of the books in the movies, they wouldn’t be any good! But it so frustrates me to hear that people don’t read the books because there are movies. People, they are SO. GOOD. And there is SO MUCH MORE to the story!!

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein – Favorite Movies. One of the few times I’ve read the books after.  Loved everything about everything. The main reason Peter Jackson got the movies so right even though he had to leave so much out is because he is a major LOTR geek. A true fan of a book, movie, comic book, anything, will do everything in his or her power not to punch other fans in the face.

The Hunger Games by Susan Collins / Life of Pi by Yann Martel – These are two books that  I looooved and also have been turned into movies that will be released this year. I love these two because the worlds I imagined for these books are so wonderful and terrible and so unlike any other story. I’m excited to see how others perceive and tell these stories, but I strongly suggest reading the books before seeing the movies.

Because the movies might be the epitome of awesome; they might cure insomnia and inspire millions to recycle or bring tears to the eyes of even the coldest-hearted human being….

But the book will always be better.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Brooklyn permalink
    January 31, 2012 9:34 pm

    You have written some masterful lines, Mb! I think my favorite is “A true fan of a book, movie, comic book, anything, will do everything in his or her power not to punch other fans in the face.”
    While I agree with you in priciple that books are always better, I will say that I thought LOTR was better for me because the books contained so many details, plot points, and nuances that I had a lot of trouble decifering the story beneath it all. The film really helped me to see and understand the books, the last two of which I read before I saw the last two movies.

  2. February 2, 2012 6:25 pm

    I agree that a book gives you more complexity and background information than a movie can. I am defiantly the type who wants to know more. I need more information and details. This is why I know it is better to read the book than watch the movie. However, there have been times where I really want to see a movie and don’t want to wait to read the book first. When I do eventually read the book I typically enjoy it so much more than the movie because of the added details.

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